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Successful Website Design: Appearance Isn't Everything

You might think all you need is a good looking site. See why it needs more than just a facelift to be a successful website!
successful website design

Website Design: See Why It Isn’t All You Need

Does your website look great? Does it match your brand and show off HD photos of your products? It sounds like a beautiful site! But how much business does it bring you?

If the answer is not much, you may need to take a step back to see. It takes more than looks to create a successful website.

Is your website optimized to rank well on Google? Are your high bounce rates an indication that potential customers leave only seconds after arriving? Is your navigation structure easy to use, or is it impossible to find items to buy?

Fifty-nine (59) percent of shoppers research a business’s website before purchasing. Those who exit early do so for a reason. If your bounce rate is higher than 50 percent, it’s time to re-evaluate your site’s functionality.

Here are five factors you need to consider when having your site designed. You’ll learn how to create a successful website, drive traffic to it, and turn visitors into paying customers. Read on to discover how.

1. Set Clear Goals

If you’re thinking of updating your site or building a new one, put pen to paper before calling anyone.

‘I need a website’ doesn’t qualify as a clear goal. Like all marketing spend, you need to map out precisely what you want the site to achieve.

This includes setting metrics such as the number of visitors you want to attract in the first month. E-commerce sites need to drive sales, but what’s the base limit in the first quarter?

Use the SMART system to measure success. If you need assistance, ask your web development team. Good web designers are able to deliver achievable results within a specific timeframe. And if they’re not, look elsewhere.

2. Analyze Traffic

Do you know how many visitors use your website daily? Do you have access to site traffic metrics like session duration and traffic channels?

If you do, examine your customers’ path through your site.
Where are the weak areas when they leave abruptly? Are referrals organic, i.e., coming from backlinks or Google search? Or is your current advertising spend delivering but you didn’t realize?

If you don’t have access to metrics, make sure to add a statistical app to your site ASAP!

Google Analytics is free for most businesses and offers a wealth of valuable insights. You’ll see exactly who visits your website and what they’re doing.

Take this information and identify what works and what needs to change. Make sure to refer to these stats from now on to check if you’re meeting your goals.

3. Optimize Content

SEO or search engine optimization covers a wide range of activities to enhance your site on Google’s listings. But there’s a straightforward thing you can do which will increase your SERP (search engine results page) rankings and retain customers.
Here’s the golden rule: make sure each page on your site contains relevant keywords and phrases that relate to the content.

If you sell photocopier toners, but your pages don’t mention the brand and SKU, don’t expect much traffic. Even if someone finds your site, generic content will make them leave immediately. Instead, look at each page as its own document.

If you’re a car dealer, you wouldn’t distribute the same brochure for each vehicle. You’d want to highlight unique features and vary your sales pitch for different vehicles. Create landing pages that target specific key phrases that work with your online ads. They should be optimized for a product or service and give a clear path for visitors to buy or contact you.

4. Focus on UX Not Just UI

A user interface or UI is design-talk for how a visitor interacts with your site. A great UI should tie in with your brand, be easy on the eye, and provide a WOW factor for first-time visitors.

But like the headline of this article states, goals can’t be reached based only on  how a site looks.
What’s more important is user experience or UX. UX refers to how your visitors use your website, or should if it’s doing its job.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You’ve landed on your website’s product page. You study the optimized content, and it reads well, but you have some questions before committing to buy. You search for a FAQ page but can’t find one. You try to make contact, but there’s no phone number or web form. The link is hidden at the bottom of the page, but by then it’s too late. Adios!

Look at your competitors’ sites and see if they do things better. Are there multiple hoops you need to jump through to find information and contact the company, or are things straightforward?

One last thing to consider is the validity of your links. Google marks you down if the links on your site don’t work. Visitors do the same and won’t come back. Ask your web designer about link checking tools and patch up any holes.

5. Check Your Uptime

You spend hours making sure your website is optimized and working well. Everything’s ready for Google, and your ads point to your landing pages.
Except your analytics software says you had no traffic on certain times throughout the month! What’s going on?

One major issue that affects the success of your site is its availability or uptime.
Websites are hosted on web servers, and if they go down or get disconnected, so too does your online presence. 

When you choose a web designer, ask them about their hosting solution.
Who do they use? What’s their uptime like? What happens when things go wrong?
Ask to view uptime statistics over the past year. They should show an average of 99%+ uptime. Many web hosts offer live data so you can see if they’re worth their salt.

Design for a Successful Website

A successful website doesn’t depend on fancy fonts and images or  animation.
Excellent visual design with optimized content and a well-thought-out marketing approach will make your site work for you. All you need is a web design company that knows the difference between a pretty website and a functional one.

If your business is located in the Chicago or Portland area, it’s time to call Solid Digital. We specialize in web and app design & development and digital marketing.
We understand that excellent site design goes beyond fonts and colors. That’s why we build intuitive websites that guide your customers through a seamless journey, no matter their device.

Please take advantage of our website assessment to audit your existing site. We’ll create a digital strategy based on meeting your goals. Contact us today to discuss your requirements. Produce excellent results with a great design team.

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